Transitions can be hard. Change is often scary. Sometimes you think the changes are going by smoothly and then Wham!, not so much.
My youngest recently started preschool. She was so excited to start. A few weeks before she started putting snacks in her book bag in order to be ready. (The dogs loved that!) The night before she was walking around with her book bag on her back. She woke me and my husband up on the first day and announced “I go to school today!”
When we arrived to the classroom, another student was crying and running for the door. My little one looked at us in confusion. We explained he was just scared and that the teacher will take care of him. We asked her to be extra nice to him. For a split second there I thought she was going to cry but then it passed. We hugged, kissed, and went our separate ways.
She came home loving school. She told us she sang songs, played, and loved it.
The next time she had school, she again easily went.
Then something happened. The next morning when my husband dropped her off she didn’t want him to go. She said “I just want to be with you.” After some hugs, kisses, and reassurances Daddy left.
When my husband called to tell me the story, something clicked. For the past few weeks, she had been waking up at night to come try and sleep with us and saying she just wanted to be with me. (We let her sleep on the floor).
Her unusual bedtime routine was a signal that she was nervous about what was coming. Now she was doing it during the day.
Today I was cleaning up something and she followed me around. She often does this but then came the familiar “I just want to be with you.” Part of me wanted to hug her and snuggle all night. The other part of me wanted to scream “I need some space!”
I did neither. I told her that I was with her but that I had to finish my chores. She could stay by me but she could not be right on top of me or be touching me (as I wouldn’t be able to get anything done with her hanging on me).
She stayed with me for a little while but then ran to play when she heard her brother and sister doing something fun.
I know what I can expect tonight though. And I know extra hugs and kisses will be in store before bed. We also are setting up a reward chart to help her stay sleeping in her own bed again.
She loves school but transitions are hard.
Stefanie F. Pisarkiewicz, LPC
Experience and information from a counselor and mother- sharing her two cents on children and teens.